Irish sailors on the campaign trail for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will not need to pack bags to compete for World Cup honours in Australia any time soon following a decision by World Sailing not to visit the southern hemisphere as part of its series. Up until now the world–girdling event had a regatta in Melbourne.
Australia Sailing has expressed its disappointment in elements of World Sailing’s new strategy and format for the Sailing World Cup released earlier this week.
The new Series format has no Southern Hemisphere venues scheduled for the next four years, with only the possibility of an opportunity in 2018. The immediate impact is that this year’s Sailing World Cup event in Melbourne will be the last after nine successful years.
Australian Sailing CEO Matt Carroll said, “We support World Sailing’s plan to create a long-term strategy and certainty in the sailing calendar and to build closer ties with the Olympic classes. However, with Melbourne now removed from the Series, World Sailing has effectively snubbed the Southern Hemisphere with their showcase event.”
“World Sailing has been pushing for sailing to be an inclusive global sport, but the exclusion of the Southern Hemisphere as a host venue for the Sailing World Cup would seem to be a backward step”, Matt added.
At the recent Rio Olympic Games, Australia and New Zealand shared the honour of the highest medals per country with four each, and four of the top 10 countries in the medal tally were from the Southern Hemisphere.
Sailing World Cup Melbourne Organising Committee Chairman, Mark Klemens said, “Like many, we were surprised by the announcement that unfortunately no longer includes the Southern Hemisphere in this pinnacle global series. While we have enjoyed working closely with World Sailing to assist in the creation and development of the Sailing World Cup since its inception, we are disappointed that the new series format doesn’t include Australia and in particular Melbourne.
“I particularly wish to thank the State Government of Victoria who have been longstanding and generous supporters of this event and the sport of sailing since 1991, the Melbourne Clubs and other stakeholders. We will deliver an outstanding and memorable Sailing World Cup Final this December and look forward to a new direction for Melbourne and its support of other major sailing events”, Mark added.
Matt Carroll joined Mark in thanking the Victorian Government for their investment in sailing. “There is no doubt that this investment has supported the Australian Sailing Team’s recent success at the Olympic Games in London and Rio.
“While we are disappointed by the decision to move all the of the Sailing World Cup Series to the Northern Hemisphere, we will do all we can to ensure our sailors are given the best chance to compete on a level playing field. Tokyo 2020 is not far away and every opportunity will be utilised to prepare them for the next Olympic Games”, Matt said.